Cooking food over a fire can create a new flavor to whatever food item you grill – from seafood or vegetables, to poultry and meats. But you need a smoker to make delicious smoked food, and when wood chips are added to it, the smoke will enrich the flavors. Wood chips are inexpensive and very simple to use, but with a few tips, you can bring them to your cooking aesthetics and impress your guests like a pro.
Depending on what you are grilling, wood chips are designed for different meats, as the various types of wood chips add flavor accordingly in particular meats. There are various types of wood chips you can buy from local grocery stores, but you must know what to use them with to make the right meal. Below is a list of wood chips and the meats they must be used with:
- Apple Wood: A very light wood that brings a fruity flavor. Use this with poultry mainly when cooking on fire.
- Hickory Wood: A wood that makes a fully smoked flavor, and is the classic smoking wood. Use this for everything you cook and all meats when cooking on fire.
- Pecan Wood: A mild wood, that brings a nutty flavor for everything it is used on. These chips should be added with grilled beef, poultry, and baked goods when cooking on a smoker.
- Mesquite Wood: The strongest wood flavor and used mainly in Texas for this rich flavor in foods. Works best with red meat when cooking over fire.
- Maple Wood: This wood brings a sweet smoke flavor to whatever it is cooked with. Use ideally with poultry when cooking over a smoker.
- Cherry Wood: Carries a distinct mild-sweet flavor, and it should be used with poultry while cooking with fire.
Depending on what you are cooking, choose the type of wood chips you will be using for grilling your meal. To use the wood chips with the smoker, follow these steps:
- Pick the type of food and meat you will be cooking and a choice of wood chips that should be used with it (as given above). Season the meat a night before you grill it, and set it in the refrigerator.
- The next day, begin by placing all the wood chips in a bowl and pour water over it to soak them. Leave the chips this way in the water for an hour.
- Add charcoal to the smoker 30 minutes before cooking. Light a fire in the starter.
- When the charcoal is heated in 30 minutes, place the meat in the smoker’s grill or chamber and let the smoke cook the meat. Add a fistful of the chips to the hot coals as the cooking begin. This will enhance the smoke and add the flavor into the meat you are cooking. Place a lid over the meat so that the smoke remains entrapped within to add flavors to the meat.
- Depending on which meat you are using, the cooking time will vary, but keep adding the wet chips to the grill and add more charcoal when needed. The smoke will seep in the meat as it cooks. Remove the lid when you are done.
Sit back and enjoy your grilled food. There won’t be anything tasting better now!
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